There are few better ways to describe the emotional power of The Leftovers than by reminding you that Sunday night’s episode featured not only opera, but also a-ha’s “Take On Me.” It was set in Australia for the most part, but still wasn’t afraid to be global.
In the end, what this episode proved more than anything else was that even on the other side of the world, the issues remain for Kevin Garvey and Nora Durst. They’re not getting any better, mostly because one is unwilling to voice any emotional opposition to the other. They’ve spent so much capital on all of the other unrest in their lives that they cannot afford any room to spend on each other.
For one prime example, just look precisely at Nora’s own journey to get to the “doctors” responsible for transporting people to the other place in the universe where the other Departed went. It was devastating for her to make the trip, strap the money to her (using Kevin’s duct tape that he uses to nearly suffocate himself no less), and then meet up with them and undergo an examination, only to then be turned away. There are two different explanations for their refusal, with one being that they were scam artists who were well aware that she would figure this out and ruin them. The other? That she answered the question wrong.
This question was simple — there are two babies. One of them will grow up to cure cancer, but only if the other one dies. Are you fine with it dying? You just have to nod. The rest answer to the doctors in our mind is “no.” You don’t nod, and it isn’t worth it. We don’t feel like these women want to jettison someone off to another world who will make the tough choices. Because Nora would have no mercy, in their mind they feel she is “worthy” (define worthy) of staying on Earth instead.
Nora didn’t know how to relate her near-constant sorrow to Kevin, who didn’t know in turn how to express himself to her in turn. He had convinced himself that he saw Evie, John Murphy’s late daughter, while in Melbourne. He went so far as to track her down for answers. However, in doing so he later found himself even more confused. First she wasn’t Evie, and the she said that she was. In the end, Laurie manipulated the woman into saying she was from afar, thinking it would satisfy him and he would leave it be. That was probably the one creative flaw in this episode — Kevin was never going to leave this be. Laurie had to confront him on the phone and convince him that this woman was not Evie, and that he was once again perceiving the world he wanted. He wanted to escape, to pretend that nothing had happened and that the people he knew were still alive. He didn’t want the memories in his head. He didn’t want to be a Savior. That’s why Kevin set his “Bible” on fire the moment he and Nora started to become heated.
The entire episode was heartbreaking given that from start to finish, these two characters couldn’t get on the same page. Nora didn’t tell Kevin about the money strapped to her before getting to the airport, and he didn’t want to tell her about the visions because of what happened with the handcuffs.
Ultimately, Kevin left her in a hotel room, a signal on this show of another world in its own right. While outside the hotel, he saw the arrival of Kevin Senior and Grace, who saw him on TV. All of a sudden, our world for our new-found Savior was becoming clear.
The moment of beauty and the moment of heartache
The closing shot, with the water from the sprinklers coming down on Nora, mixed not-so-subtly with her tears. A beautiful closing shot for another beautiful episode. Grade: A.